A Mouse Named Zoey, the further adventures…
A few months ago I shared the tale of “Zoey” – the little mouse that was rescued from certain death, by two of my children, and brought into our home to be a part of our family (you can read the account in my archived works under: “Lessons from Life, Part One” [April 25, 2014]). I’m not sure what I expected from the rescue of this mouse, but, truth be told, Zoey has been teaching us things ever since.
First, all of God’s creatures are amazing in their own way. Zoey is resourceful, opportunistic, amazingly pliable (she can get out of the tiniest of spaces) and is nocturnal (she LOVES the night!). She loves french fries, sitting in my daughter’s hand (and being petted like a puppy!), and running on her wheel (often for hours in the middle of the night [before we oiled it, her wheel squealed like crazy when she ran on it!]). It intrigues me that we didn’t have to teach her how to run on that wheel, or drink out of her water bottle, or how to hang upside down on the top mesh of her cage (I don’t have a clue how you would teach a mouse anything, anyway!). These things she learned all on her own without a bit of human intervention. And she learned all these things before she was six weeks old! I think that’s pretty amazing (maybe she’s some kind of mouse genius!?)
We have also discovered that Zoey craves her freedom. After she learned to climb, run and jump (in three weeks time) our next few weeks were quite an adventure. Being slightly unprepared to house a mouse, we kept her in various home-made (and borrowed) contraptions, that soon permitted her to practice (and perfect!) her escape skills. She would chew through hard plastic and escape. She would chew through wood and escape. She would find the tiniest of openings in her cage’s lid, climb up on the top of her wheel and jump to the opening, squeeze through, and bound away to freedom. We quickly learned this great truth: freedom called from the other side of her captivity – and she relished the opportunity to show us that there was no humanly-designed cage that could hold her!
Once free, the next significant challenge was to find Zoey. At first, this was fairly easy. She seemed content with building a little nest somewhere within the room where we kept her cage. We would entice her out with food, re-capture her, and attempt to come up with a better design for her cage. We would inevitably fail, and soon, she would be on the loose again. In short time, she discovered that our house was more than just the one room, and she was eager to explore all the rooms in our home (oh yeah… always at night). Now, we found Zoey, by being awakened in the night with the pitter-patter of tiny feet running up and down our bedded bodies (yeah, that was creepy!). We would “feel” for the feet and cup our hands around her to catch her, return her to her cage and spend the next few weary minutes trying to figure out how she had outsmarted us again.
But, to add to our frustration, she quickly became so nifty and nimble on her feet that it was next to impossible to catch her at all – so we would give up, try and sweep her off the bed, and go back to sleep – waiting for morning to find her current nesting place. Soon, the only way we could catch her was to wait for her to get hungry, and SHE would come searching for us! We discovered that, in the end, she was still dependent upon us humans to take care of her – but she only wanted us on her own terms.
This brings me to the life-lesson part of the story… How often do WE adopt the role of “Zoey” when it comes to our relationship with God? God has rescued us from certain death (through the redeeming work of His Own Son); He has brought us into His Own Home (and called us as His very Own children); He has promised to care for us, nurture us, feed us, and provide for all we need – but, it seems, we still carelessly desire to run from His care and provisions for us. We would rather make our own way in this world (until circumstances cause us to seek Him out again!) than to simply live within His loving care. So often, it seems that we cherish our “freedom” more than we cherish His compassionate care of us. Even if our “freedom” leads us to our demise…
Yet, like in our own situation in seeking for Zoey, God also seems irrepressibly intent upon searching for us, bringing us back into His care and safety. It seems that, as One Who is described as the Good Shepherd, He just can’t seem to escape His Own love for His Own wayward sheep (or mice, as the case may be). He IS unrelenting love!
Zoey is in the best of all situations. She is well-fed, well-treated, protected from harm, and lacks for no good thing. We even go “out of our way” to give her special things (french fries! Along with other mousey treats!). Maybe, it’s just that she cannot realize how good she really has it. Maybe it’s just her nature to seek out whatever is out there on “the other side.” But in the end, an amazing realization captures us: we still love Zoey – even if she seems to have NO value in the eyes of this world; and even if she can never really, or adequately, reciprocate our love.
And that IS the way God loves us… relentlessly, compassionately, undeservedly, unconditionally, and so often without receiving anything in return for His love. Yet, He loves us with an everlasting love… I DO wonder… how much of Zoey is in me?
How much of Zoey is in all of us?
Still… there are those moments when Zoey hears our voice talking to her, and she comes out of her little “mouse igloo,” and she peers up at us with a look of eager expectation (maybe even anticipation) and you realize, in that very moment, that your actions to save one lowly mouse, matter – at least to that one insignificant mouse. You find a certain pleasure in your compassion – a simple and profound joy that really cannot be expressed with words. It is in that moment that you catch a faint glimpse into the heart of God – and you are reminded that we are so very important to Him. These are the moments we cherish – and which draw us to seek to know Him more.
Then we discover: these are the moments He cherishes as well…